Best Outdoor Playhouses For Kids In 2017 – Which One To Buy?
Outdoor playhouses may be among the most expensive toys parents buy for their children, mainly because of the size of these toys. But when these are chosen wisely, the fun and educational lessons that children get while playing in them are priceless!
Child development experts agree that outdoor playhouses are excellent tools for encouraging autonomous playing among children. They learn valuable life skills in the process, said skills of which include conflict resolution, negotiation, and decision-making and problem-solving.
Table of Contents
- Reviews of 10 Best Outdoor Playhouses For Kids
- 1. Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio
- 2. Backyard Discovery Timberlake All Cedar Wood Playhouse
- 3. Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town Playhouse
- 4. Step2 Naturally Playful Front Porch
- 5. Little Cottage Company Victorian DIY Playhouse Kits
- 6. Backyard Discovery Windsor Castle All Cedar Playhouse
- 7. Step2 Neat and Tidy II
- 8. Little Tikes Princess Cape Cottage
- 9. Step2 Sweetheart Playhouse
- 10. Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center
- Final Verdict
Reviews of 10
Best Outdoor Playhouses For Kids
1. Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio
Many playhouses only come with the unit itself. But not the Picnic on the Patio playhouse! When you open the box, you will find several play accessories that will add to your children’s enjoyment of the toy.
These accessories include two chairs that complement the picnic table attached to one side of the playhouse, as well as pretend burners in the interior kitchen, among others. Now all your children need to do is bring their play kitchens so that they can start playing.
The playhouse has a cottage effect from its red tile-like roof to its brick-and-log walls so kids feel like they’re in a rural cottage. The attached picnic table can also be used for other purposes, such as writing, drawing and even eating their snacks.
The Dutch doors actually open while the multiple windows provide kids with the opportunity to interact with others outside the playhouse. There are also small details, such as the red doorbell near the Dutch door.
- Charming cottage-inspired design
- Easy-to-clean molded plastic material
- Comes with a functional picnic table and chairs
- Semi-open design so parents can look in on their kids from time to time
- Assembly needed but it’s relatively easy due to the panel design
2. Backyard Discovery Timberlake All Cedar Wood Playhouse
Yet another wooden playhouse is the Timberlake All Cedar Wood Playhouse, a product that gives parents the right balance between reasonable price and quality product that can be used for several years.
This has a semi-closed design wherein the front has a working Dutch door with a see-through window at each side, as well as a plant stand under each window. Your kids can easily get in and out of the door, a must for the best playhouses.
The other three sides of the playhouse aren’t covered by a full wall. Instead, each one has a wide open cutout –about waist-high for your kids – that allows the kids to interact with others outside of the playhouse.
You will just appreciate that you can check in on them without getting nearer than necessary – kids can be touchy about adults interfering in their playtime.
- Wood materials that can withstand the elements to a certain degree
- Semi-open architecture
- Fun details like the plant stand under the windows
- Easy to maintain
- Promotes outdoor play for kids
- Requires assembly although it’s easy enough since the playhouse comes in a few panels only
3. Little Tikes Endless Adventures Tikes Town Playhouse
The Endless Adventures playhouse is a relatively large playhouse that features sides with its own theme – a firehouse, a gas station, and a schoolhouse. The gas station side even features a gas pump that looks like the real thing.
Your kids can, indeed, let their imaginations fly when they start playing firemen, gas station owners and customers, and teachers and students.
You may even find them switching from one role to the next with impressive speed.
- Composite playhouse that offers plenty of play possibilities
- Molded plastic can withstand exposure to the elements
- Easy to clean since it’s plastic
- With attention to detail on its features
- Larger space for playing
- Also requires assembly by an adult but it’s to be expected
4. Step2 Naturally Playful Front Porch
This playhouse boasts what other playhouses in this list doesn’t have – a porch, which is covered by a roof and equipped with a single seat for a guest. Your kids will love hanging out here during the summer season because it feels like home to them.
The door is the usual Dutch door while the windows are numerous, too. Your younger kids will appreciate it because they can bring a few toys into the playhouse, perhaps even fill the porch with a few more toys like a stuffed toy on the seat.
- Porch feature
- Durable composite materials used
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to set up
- Fewer features
5. Little Cottage Company Victorian DIY Playhouse Kits
The wooden playhouse is as realistic as it gets without actually hiring the team of Playhouse Masters to build a more elaborate playhouse in your spacious backyard.
From a distance, the playhouse looks like a miniature Victorian cottage from its realistic tile roofs to its white fence, yellow shutters, and wood floor.
Just add a few finishing touches, such as curtains for the windows and plants in its yard, and your children will have a cottage of their own!
There are several sizes of the playhouse to choose from with the smallest measuring 6x8 feet, a sizable mini-cottage considering that it will only be used by kids. Regardless of the size, the playhouses have been designed with attention to detail – a chimney on the roof, a heart-shaped window on the attic, safety glass panels on the windows, and even a small porch.
- Sturdy wood materials and safety glass panels
- Realistic design with attention to detail
- Attractive design that can blend in well with most designs of houses
- Several sizes to choose from
- Comes with detailed setup instructions
- Serves as venue for boys and girls alike to enjoy role-playing activities
- Expensive price
- Requires adults to set up due to complicated process
6. Backyard Discovery Windsor Castle All Cedar Playhouse
The Windsor Castle playhouse is a cross between a castle and a playhouse in a park – or in your backyard, for that matter.
You will like that it’s a wooden playhouse made apparently with two types of wood – one for most of the structure and another for the fully functional Dutch doors on the first level.
The two-story tower can be accessed via a side ladder and where kids can look out over their kingdom or look out for enemy attacks – at least, in their imagination. The one-story level on the side has a few windows and the Dutch doors provide access to the interiors.
Your children will feel like they are in a castle so much so that they may want to wear their costumes, especially the girls in their princess dresses or in their Nelly princess knight-inspired getups.
- Strong and sturdy construction
- Castle-like design
- With side ladders and doors to engage kids’ physical skills
- Encourages children to give their imagination free rein
- Requires an hour or so of assembly, as well as a few power tools
7. Step2 Neat and Tidy II
The more affordable option is the Step2 Neat and Tidy II playhouse, which is made of durable molded plastic that can also be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
You can easily determine what the kids are doing inside the playhouse, thanks to the numerous window sections on its top as well as the near-absence of walls.
Your children will not mind the open design because it allows for more interactions with the kids outside the playhouse. The earthy colors are easy on the eyes, not to mention that it will likely blend in well with your house.
The working Dutch doors and shutters on the windows have their appeal, too, while the doorbell, mailbox, and fireplace are just among the finer details that make it such a great playhouse.
- More affordable price
- Open design with plenty of see-through windows
- Attractive overall design
- Details on the interior and exterior that make it look like a functional playhouse
- Sufficient size for a few kids to play in
- No choices in color combos and sizes
8. Little Tikes Princess Cape Cottage
There may be only two prominent colors in the Princess Cape Cottage – pink for the walls and purple for the roof – but the color combination is as attractive as it can get.
No wonder that it’s a favorite playhouse among little girls who want to feel like princesses whenever they’re playing in an outdoor playhouse. The affordable price is the main selling point although the bright colors are also part of its appeal.
This playhouse looks more like a real house because of its closed-off walls with large windows, unlike many of the playhouses in our list with their open windows. The Dutch door, however, is a common denominator in most of them but it’s a convenient feature.
Your girls will not only love the bright pink-and-purple combo but also the thoughtful details, such as the house number in a purple card, the mailbox, and the flag holder – because princesses should have their own flags.
- Solid construction when properly assembled
- Lightweight so it can easily be transferred between Points A and B in the yard
- Eye-catching color combos
- Princess theme
- Promotes outdoor play in girls who may not like it
- Assembly is still required but it’s so much easier than the other playhouses mentioned here
9. Step2 Sweetheart Playhouse
Little girls are such sweethearts in the eyes of their parents! This Sweetheart Playhouse is then a great gift for the little sweetheart in your life who likes all things pink, frilly, and girly.
Unlike many of the best outdoor playhouses, this one has a full-sized door instead of the more common Dutch door. The pink door with its pink doorbell encourage little girls to practice calling on their neighbors and getting into the house.
The window beside the door even has a flower box for added charm, not to mention that a little girl can see out of it to see who’s at the door.
- White, pink and violet color combo
- Sturdy molded plastic
- Cute details like the flower box and hearts over the door
- Suitable only for smaller children due to size
- Requires assembly, too, but it’s easy enough with the instruction guide
10. Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center
Step2 Neighborhood Fun Center is such a delightful playhouse that even its more expensive price doesn’t deter many parents from buying it. Your children will just squeal with delight when they first see it in its fully-assembled state!
The brown walls are offset by the vibrant colors - the green roof, the red slide, table and chairs, and the yellow Dutch door.
There’s plenty of space in the Neighborhood Fun Center, too. The semi-open roof has an upper deck that can serve as the lookout post for the kids while going down from it is easy-peasy with the slide attached to the side of the playhouse. The attached table and chairs to one side provides kids with space for activities like eating, writing, and just hanging out.
- Sturdy molded plastic construction
- Easy to maintain with a damp cloth or soap-and-water mix to remove stubborn stains
- Several play spaces
- Encourages cooperative play among kids
- Kid-friendly design
- Assembly can be tricky because of the numerous components
- Colors can fade from prolonged sun exposure
Keep in mind that safety is always the first and foremost consideration when choosing the best outdoor playhouses. You, the parent, have the right to consider your budget, of course, but you should always look at the playhouses with a critical eye toward safety.
You are well-advised to read the best outdoor playhouses reviews by your fellow parents or grandparents, as well as read the manufacturers’ descriptions so as to make a smart decision.